Travel Outside the U.S.

Get a travel signature on your I-20

Before you leave the country, make sure you have a valid travel signature from an OIS advisor on page 3 of your I-20. You will not be able to re-enter the United States without one.

To get a travel signature, make a request through iStart at least three weeks before you plan to travel.

Travel signatures are valid for one calendar year, or until the completion of your program, whichever comes first.

Make sure your I-20 will not expire while you are out of the country

Check your completion date in section 5 of your I-20 to see whether it is about to expire. If it expires while you are outside the U.S., you will not be able to re-enter the U.S.

If your I-20 is about to expire and you have not yet completed your program, you will need to apply for an extension via iStart. You do not need to request a travel signature. When your extension is approved, a new I-20 will be printed and signed for travel.

Updated financial documentation will be required to process your new I-20.

Travel and your F-1 visa

Is the F-1 U.S. visa stamp in your passport valid beyond the date you plan to re-enter the United States? If not, you must apply for a new visa while you are abroad. We strongly advise you to carry the following documents with you when applying for a new visa at a U.S. consulate:

  • Official Transcript issued by the registrar of IU
  • Enrollment Certificate issued by the registrar of IU
  • Valid I-20 issued and signed by OIS
  • Current financial documentation: documents indicating the source(s) and amount(s) of financial support for your study in the current academic year. This must match the information listed on your I-20.

Note: if you intend to apply for a new U.S. visa in Canada or Mexico and are not a resident of either country, please contact an advisor at the Office of International Services.

See also the U.S. Department of State’s website on information for nonimmigrants present in the United States, and visiting Canada or Mexico.

If you need to apply for a new U.S. visa, visit the Department of State’s U.S. embassies and consulates website for an updated list of visa application locations.